Akanksha Nagar, Financial Express
September 25, 2023
Adding to the fizz in the energy drink market, NourishCo, a division of Tata Consumer Products (TCP), has unveiled Say Never — a caffeine-based energy drink priced at Rs 10 for a 200 ml cup — in two variants of red (berries) and blue (tropical flavours). In its initial phase of launch, the brand will be available largely through general trade outlets in Karnataka and some key markets of the north, including Delhi, NCR, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. Vikram Grover, MD, NourishCo Beverages, TCP, says, “With Say Never we are celebrating the heroes who carve their own path.”
As a functional beverage, the energy drinks segment has grown by leaps and bounds in recent years to stand at Rs 3,500 crore in 2022. Experts reckon the market will touch Rs 10,000 crore by 2027. Red Bull is the category leader with a 61% market share of the market.
PepsiCo’s debut of Sting a few years ago at an inviting Rs 50 for 250 ml (as opposed to Red Bull’s Rs 125 for 250 ml can) had shaken up the category. With a 7% market share Sting has surpassed PepsiCo’s older products like Mountain Dew to become the company’s fastest-growing brand. Charged by Thums Up kept up the buzz for Coca-Cola during the 2023 edition of the Indian Premier League on Star Sports. Grover says Say Never will stand out for two reasons — the attractive price point and the cup delivery format, which the company has used with Gluco+. “The rapid growth in this energy segment in the recent past has come on the back of price disruption, and we feel that we can take that disruption forward,” he adds.
As energy drinks still operate in a niche segment with a premium play, an affordable price point can be a game-changer, say experts. “Affordability is a significant driver in India, especially for pre-teens, teens and college students,” says Devangshu Dutta, CEO, Third Eyesight. For many years energy drinks were treated as a niche premium opportunity, but the availability of lower price options has opened up the mass market as demonstrated by PepsiCo’s Sting in PET bottles with a much lower price point.
While the cola giants have an obvious advantage in terms of shelf space accessibility, given the market’s trajectory even smaller players stand a good chance to create a space for themselves. “Clarity in positioning, techniques to make the brand stand out, and ensuring availability with strong distribution and replenishment is imperative to get ahead,” Dutta suggests.
TCP plays in the energy space with Tata Gluco+, a glucose-based energy drink targeting a young consumer set; for Say Never the target is the youth between the ages of 18 and 35.
Besides pricing, what will be make or break is marketing muscle and a differentiated appeal, says Samit Sinha, managing partner, Alchemist Brand Consulting. “Say Never can position itself as a party-drink — akin to how Red Bull is equated with active lifestyles. There are enough opportunities to create nuanced differences in attributes, functional benefits and most of all, emotional benefits.”
NourishCo contributes 4% to the TCP overall business and in Q1 of FY23, its recorded a strong revenue growth of 60%. TCP’s flagship drink Tata Gluco+ registered a growth of 61% in the same period.
(Published in Financial Express)
Viveat Susan Pinto, Financial Express
August 5, 2023
Two of the country’s best-known retailers, Nykaa and Reliance Retail, are now clashing head-on for a bigger share of the online beauty and personal care (BPC) market. Signs of this became apparent on Thursday, when Nykaa said that its CEO Falguni Nayar would “guide the marketing function directly” as part of its larger initiative to strengthen its marketing leadership and management.
The announcement, according to industry experts, came amid senior-level exits at the company and increasing competition from Reliance Retail’s Tira, which was launched in April this year as an online-cum-offline beauty destination.
Nykaa, which is estimated to have a share of 38% of the $1.3 billion (Rs 10,920 crore) online BPC market in India, says that it is evolving into a multi-dimensional business.
“Leadership roles are being augmented with an eye on strategic realignment, cost rationalisation and growing complexity of the business,” Nykaa said in a statement.
While Reliance Retail’s Tira is smaller in comparison to Nykaa, it is beginning to chip away at the heels of its bigger rival, industry sources said, within months of launch.
For instance, in four months since going live in April, the Tira app has over 1.7 million downloads and is eyeing a number of around 10 million in the next few months, persons in the know have told FE. It intends to do this on the back of aggressive tie-ups with local and international brands and positioning itself as an aspirational yet affordable beauty player. A mail sent to Reliance Retail elicited no response till the time of going to press.
The Nykaa beauty app has over 40 million downloads, but has been around longer than Tira, executives in the know said. Discounts on both platforms (Tira and Nykaa) range from 10-50% for various brands with BOGO (buy one get one) offers, virtual try-ons, blogs, tutorials, tips, recommendations and videos being part of the online experience. Tira also has a unique fragrance finder, which helps consumers match fragrances closest to their preferences.
“For beauty retailers, the game will increasingly be omnichannel,” says Devangshu Dutta, chief executive officer at Gurugram-based retail consultancy Third Eyesight. “While the consumer set is young for beauty brands, convenience and access, whether online or offline, is key for sustainable growth,” he says.
Nykaa has doubled its beauty store count from 72 outlets in FY21 to 145 stores in FY23, the company said in a recent investor call. Plans include adding another 50 outlets in FY24 and taking total store count to 150 stores, according to a report by brokerage firm JM Financial.
Reliance Retail also intends to expand its Tira footprint by setting up stores in suburbs such as Andheri in Mumbai besides BKC in Bandra and Infinity Mall in Malad, which are up and running. The Malad store, for instance, was launched just last week. Over the next few months, satellite cities such as Thane and locations such as Pune, Bangalore, Chennai and Hyderabad are likely to see Tira stores, informed sources said, with more outlets lined up in tier-I and II cities, including Delhi-NCR.
Reliance Retail is also laying special emphasis on the design of its Tira stores, with the flagship 4,300-sq ft outlet in Bandra Kurla Complex, for instance, put together by London-headquartered studio called Dalziel & Pow. The studio is best-known for its work for brands such as Marks & Spencer, Toyota, Volkswagen and Jaguar Land Rover and has designed the BKC Tira stores as a go-to destination for beauty shoppers.
(Published in Financial Express)
Suprita Anupam, Inc42
Jul 25, 2023
– Following a stock downgrade, Nykaa might lose some visibility among public market investors at a time when competition in the beauty ecommerce space is intensifying
– Nykaa, which has been the most popular beauty marketplace, has had to fight off Reliance Tira, Flipkart-owned Myntra, Tata CLiQ and others but has to invest heavily in omnichannel and private label expansion
– As its profitability and traction have declined, Nykaa needs to fix things for the long run without losing too much money as it does not have the capital reserves similar to its rivals
In the first week of July, the Nykaa stock took a significant hit, falling 42% from its 52-week high. Further, the Association of Mutual Funds in India (AMFI) downgraded the stock, dropping it from the top 100 listed companies in the country. As of now, the company is ranked somewhere between 101 and 250 on the market capitalisation threshold.
From a near monopoly in the beauty ecommerce space, Nykaa has lost its top spot. Not to mention, new competition, in the form of D2C brands and behemoths such as Tata and Reliance, has complicated the situation even more.
The downgrade by the AMFI means that Nykaa is no longer an attractive largecap stock in India, and this could have an impact on the company’s visibility in the near future.
So, what exactly triggered this collapse?
It was only in November 2021 that Nykaa’s INR 5,352 Cr IPO saw 82x subscription, the highest among large startup IPOs in India. Having withstood competition from marketplaces such as Amazon India and Walmart-backed Flipkart and Myntra, Nykaa seemingly set a new benchmark for Indian ecommerce startups with its blockbuster IPO.
But the last 20 months have been nothing short of disruptive. Reliance-backed AJIO has grown in stature, and the Indian conglomerate has also launched Tira in the beauty ecommerce space.
Meanwhile, Tata has also bolstered its beauty and personal care product assortment on its platform Tata CLiQ. Furthermore, the Tatas have added 20 beauty tech stores across the country, aligned with its ecommerce operations, while Myntra Beauty has registered 2X-3X growth in recent months and expanded its brand collection. Therefore, Nykaa needs to come up with something exceptional to compete with the aforementioned well-funded BPC contenders.
Adding to the company’s woes was the announcement of the issue of bonus shares in a 5:1 ratio and changes in key management personnel after a successful IPO. This did not go down well with investors. Bonus shares announcement was largely perceived as a way to keep the company’s anchor investors from offloading shares at the end of their IPO lock-in period.
Experts believe that amid declining year-on-year profitability, Nykaa could see a cash crunch as it prepares to combat with deep-pocketed corporations. For now, it will be interesting to see if Nykaa can hold onto its market share?
Nykaa’s Losing Its Footfall To AJIO & Myntra
First, let’s look at the bread-and-butter for ecommerce platforms such as Nykaa — that is visits, page views, engagement and repeat orders.
It must be noted that Nykaa has separate properties for fashion (Nykaafashion.com) and beauty (nykaa.com). If we look at the performance over the last 3-4 months, the fashion vertical has definitely seen some gains, but Nykaa.com itself has experienced negative growth in total visits.
The flagship property is bleeding users due to an ever-intensifying competition, which is quite clear in the graph given below.
Further, Nykaa, Nykaa Man and Nykaa Fashion have the lowest numbers when it comes to average visit durations.
On the ecommerce front, Nykaa has a lot of catching up to do against its competitors. Some of Nykaa’s private labels — take Dot&Key for instance — have become popular discounted items on Myntra, AJIO, Amazon India and other marketplaces, which shows that the company is forced to use its competition to sell its products.
In contrast, Myntra, AJIO, Tira and Amazon’s private labels are largely walled inside their respective marketplaces. To beat the competition and stay in the public spotlight, Nykaa has opted for the omnichannel strategy, and it is looking to add brand-owned stores on the retail front. But here too, the competition is stiff.
Nykaa Faces Challenges With Its Online-To-Offline Strategy
When we look at the omnichannel operations, Nykaa has 145 physical stores, 38 fulfilment centres, and 2,749 stores of its owned brands. The company plans to open more physical stores this year, according the announcements made in its last earnings call.
Nykaa’s founder and CEO Falguni Nayar had earlier said, “Physical retail is a necessary investment that we need to make, even if it adversely affects overall profitability. So, we are aiming for the optimal mix of online, offline, and duty.”
This is where the situation becomes more complicated. Being primarily an online platform, Nykaa has managed to stay lean and achieve profits thus far. However, opening more stores means more investments and a significant increase in operational expenditure, including higher employee expenses.
Plus, this entails entering into fierce competition with Tata and Reliance.
Reliance Retail alone has launched over 3,300 new stores in FY23 under its various brands, including Tira Beauty, Trends, and others.
Similarly, Tata has been a well-known name in the BPC and fashion industry. It introduced the first-ever cosmetics brand, Lakme Cosmetics, to India (later sold to Unilever). Tata has over 22 in-house labels for its Westside brand, which operates over 200 stores across the country.
While Tata plans to open 20 beauty tech stores, equipped with AI and VR, it already has 391 Zudio stores nationwide.
For Tata and Reliance, it is relatively easier to build an online business backed by their offline stores compared to Nykaa’s strategy of building an offline presence backed by online operations. These large conglomerates have years of experience in building retail brands in the offline space.
So, essentially, Nykaa seems to have lost ground in its strength areas of ecommerce and offline retail, as it is not as experienced as its rivals.
Speaking to Inc42, Devangshu Dutta, the founder and CEO of Third Eyesight, a boutique management consulting firm explained, “Apart from the impact of Covid, in the last 3-4 years, many brands have started moving offline because that’s where the bulk of the business happens. But moving offline means entering a completely different business. You’re not able to centralise inventory as much, and you may not be able to respond to market-specific segments as quickly.”
He also believes, like any other offline retail business, Nykaa will face high operational costs, but it has an advantage in the fact that it may be able to use data more effectively from its online operations. Nevertheless, this is a minor advantage.
“Your store locations have to be correct, and self-sustaining quickly, at least on a cash operating basis. At the business level you may look at profitability in a longer term,” Dutta added.
Profits Plummet: Nykaa’s Other Big Worry
India’s beauty and personal care market, presently valued at $16.8 Bn, is poised to grow at a compound annual rate of 11%, with cosmetics and perfumes categories growing at a faster clip.
According to a joint report by international beauty brand Estée Lauder and Gurugram-based business insights firm 1Lattice, a substantial portion of sales worth about $1.3 Bn are through ecommerce channels. This is expected to grow at a CAGR of 30% during FY22-27, followed by companies that retail beauty products in health and beauty stores and modern retail shops.
With 30% of India’s BPC market share, Nykaa has so far managed to stay ahead in the race. Nykaa’s beauty category (55% of the broad BPC category) saw 33% full-year growth with a GMV of INR 6,649 Cr. On the fashion side, the GMV grew 47% for the full year at INR 2,570 Cr.
BPC and fashion are the two mainstays of Nykaa’s business, even though fashion is a relatively new vertical for the Mumbai-based company. The company had earlier launched Nykaa Man, a separate platform for men’s grooming, beauty and fashion, but with less than 1 Mn visits, it has failed to grow over the last few years while AJIO has grown from 0-37 Mn users, as per analysts.
“At one end, Nykaa’s online PAT has been going down for the last two years, while Nykaa Fashion’s loss for the year has grown consecutively, putting Nykaa business in a fix,” said an analyst from PwC.
Nykaa needs to bring a balance between short-term losses and long-term profits. However, the company’s current strategy fails to show a way out, the analyst added.
The Balancing Act For Nykaa
As per the analyst quoted above, the company’s BPC products have so far had lower prices than Myntra and AJIO, where discounts are typically lower.
However, when compared to Amazon India and its long list of D2C brands and private labels, Nykaa products were slightly more expensive. Amazon also scored over Nykaa with its better supply chain and distribution.
Nykaa banked on product assortment, the assurance of quality and authenticity of products, but as more and more brands join Tira, AJIO and Tata CLiQ, this is also fast eroding.
Access to international brands is no longer exclusive to Nykaa, so it needs to tackle distribution and supply chain, where its rivals score heavily.
Giving Nykaa the benefit of the doubt, a consultant from brokerage firm Motilal Oswal recently said, “There is no clear playbook for these businesses. When Nykaa entered the segment, it was pioneering many aspects in India.”
However, now the company needs to exercise extreme caution regarding expenses and investments because of heavyweight competition with deeper pockets.
P Ganesh, chief financial officer at Nykaa, highlighted that the company still has funds remaining from the IPO, which will be utilised to secure future capital needs.
Ganesh added, “It’s worth noting that while we have observed a considerable increase in working capital as the company scales up, the number of working capital days is expected to stabilise. This means that the amount of funding allocated to working capital should moderate in the future.”
But analysts also believed that Nykaa cannot afford to sacrifice its market share in India’s rapidly growing beauty, personal care, and wellness segment. One thing that is advantageous for Nykaa is that Reliance-owned Tira is still new in the market and will take some time to get to critical mass adoption.
This is a window of opportunity for Nykaa to stretch its lead and fight off its rivals. Nykaa’s brand value primarily comes from its online business, so it must not let offline expenses hinder its online growth plans. However, given the competition, Nykaa is in a Catch-22 situation.
In the BPC segment, owned and private label brands play a vital role in increasing long-term profitability and repeat purchases. All of this will require extensive investment from Nykaa’s leadership — there are segments in BPC where Nykaa has no private label or owned brands.
As of now, the question remains: Can Nykaa maintain its dominance in the online market while facing fierce competition on multiple fronts?
(Published on Inc42)
Pooja Yadav, Afaqs
June 30, 2023
Over the last two-three years, we have seen technology innovations making its way into the Indian jewellery sector. Brands have been trying to transform the online jewellery segment by using various technologies like augmented reality (AR), artificial intelligence (AI), live video assistance, computer-aided design (CAD), computer-aided manufacturing (CAM), and more.
Despite the numerous innovations, the offline jewellery segment is still ahead of the online space, when it comes to sales. What makes the offline jewellery segment outpace the online segment?
The Indian e-commerce market is expected to grow to $111.40 billion by 2025 from $46.2 billion in 2020, as per an International Institute of Gemology report. While the segment remains to grow, what drives it back is the customer preference for physical jewellery stores.
Vipin Nair, marketing head & CRM at Malabar Gold & Diamonds, points out, “As of now, there seems to be no real alternative to trying on jewellery pieces in a retail store. Brands have been able to crack the logistics part, but not the ‘feel’ part. AR/VR has been around for a long time, but it doesn’t give you a feel of the jewellery pieces. It is a poor technology. The big purchases will continue to happen only in offline stores.”
Nair adds that despite the many challenges in the online space, it is now growing faster than before. “Earlier, there was a disconnect in the online segment. A customer had to wait for two-three weeks to receive a product. The online platforms seem to have cracked this business model, as whatever you like today, you can order and get it in a day’s time.”
Online jewellery segment started gaining popularity in 2020. In 2018, Tanishq started its e-comm website, and many other brands accompanied it in the online journey. What started with Tanishq has become a new journey for many start-ups and brands in the online space.
During Covid, the jewellery industry has been one of the worst-hit. Advent of online shopping and consumers relying on digital platforms during pandemic, helped brands strategise and invest more on online platforms.
According to Devangshu Dutta, founder and chief executive of Third Eyesight, trust is important when one is buying jewellery.
“It’s not a question of innovations. You can have virtual trials, whether it is online or in a store. But at the end, the customers have to see the piece and then buy it. Even if you are an online brand, you have to be able to offer an omnichannel experience. You have to enable in-home experience.”
As per Dutta, what’s required in this segment, is a change of mindset. “The share of online and modern retail will grow with time.”
Brands like Tanishq, Bluestone, Malabar, Kalyan Jewellers, Tata CLiQ, etc., are working on newer technologies. Then there are new players like the Aditya Birla Group that is set to foray into the branded jewellery retail business, with an investment of Rs 5,000 crore. The group’s new venture ‘Novel Jewels’ will have in-house brands in large-format exclusive retail stores across India.
Rashi Goel, founder and CEO, Performonks, says that the new brands entering the category, are trying to change the rules of the game. “These brands cater to working women, who want lighter, modern and fashionable pieces that they can match and wear with their outfits every day. So, the battle will be of brand building.”
“Tanishq offers light pieces, but tends to advertise heavy wedding jewellery, because that is in line with the category codes. The Aditya Birla Group will have to differentiate itself through the product experience. It will have to tell a brand story that takes the category narrative forward. If it is targeting young women looking for modern styles, it may benefit by having a direct-to-consumer (D2C) element (alongside retail stores in big cities). It could incorporate technology, where women can ‘try on’ jewellery virtually on the app.”
Citing the World Gold Council, Asian Lite International reports that there is a growing demand for lightweight and studded jewellery. Bridal jewellery alone accounts for at least half of the market share.
“Women prefer lightweight jewellery because it is practical and blends well with a modern lifestyle,” shares Nair of Malabar Gold & Diamonds.
Technology innovations may bring in some challenges, but they are also helping many people, in terms of convenience and choice. The online segment, which is still a fraction of the offline segment, is lately generating interest among digital savvy millennials.
Puneet Mansukhani, partner, KPMG in India, states that the online jewellery space has been garnering significant attention, especially amongst the millennials.
“Customer expectations are changing. Personalisation is playing a critical role. Technology involvement is increasing by the day, with AR taking the lead. However, the industry still has to tackle challenges around pilferage.”
On the upcoming trends, Mansukhani says, “Jewellery which is made to order with a modern look of hyper-personalisation (customised), is gaining importance, considering that value and convenience continue to be the top drivers of consumption.”
Manufacturers are increasingly focussing on producing lightweight pieces to satisfy the demands of young consumers, especially those who want to wear gold jewellery that matches with their western outfit every day, as per a World Gold Council report.
According to Third Eyesight’s Dutta, since fashion (lightweight) jewellery usually doesn’t cost much, “a consumer is not that invested in it. You can buy it online, like any other fashion product.”
The World Gold Council report adds that studded jewellery – known as ‘Polki’, ‘Kundan’ or ‘Jadau’ – has an estimated market share of 15-20%. The share of studded jewellery in North India is considerably higher. In South India, consumers are more inclined towards gold products, 60-70% of which are studded with diamonds and the remaining 30-40% are set with precious or semi-precious stones.
In India, jewellery was traditionally purchased for investment purposes. People used to believe in buying heavy jewellery. But now, there’s a shift towards versatility and contemporary jewellery.
Nair states, “Contemporary designs are getting a lot of traction lately. It was not the case 10-15 years back. Lightweight jewellery is now in vogue and heavy jewellery is restricted to occasions like weddings. People now are looking for something practical. They are more into the design, quality, etc.”
Will the changing consumer preferences impact the bridal jewellery market?
Bridal jewellery dominates the gold jewellery landscape, with 50-55% of market share. Indians usually purchase gold for two occasions – weddings and festivals.
Around 11-13 million weddings take place in India every year. With women marrying at an average age of 22 and more than half of the country’s population below the age of 25, the demand for bridal jewellery will remain strong over the long-term, as per the World Gold Council data.
The jewellery manufacturing landscape in India is largely unorganised and skill-intensive. Most jewellery pieces are still hand-crafted by artisans.
“Hence, the scale continues to be limited. Although we are gradually seeing jewellery retailers invest in large set-ups. We are also witnessing the overall jewellery market heading towards formalisation on the back of GST, government policies around hallmarking and exports,” shares Mansukhani of KPMG.
“For large players looking to enter this space, automation and focussing on in-house manufacturing, could help jewellers counter the high manufacturing charges.”
Gargi Sarkar, Inc42
6 May 2023
With one of the largest consumer bases in the world, the Indian retail industry is on a constant upward spiral, thanks to the increase in the purchasing power of Indian consumers and the ever-increasing ecommerce adoption.
Notably, this has helped segments like online beauty and personal care (BPC) sustain and grow faster than the players in the offline space.
According to industry experts, the online BPC market has been growing in the range of 20% to 25% annually, compared to the offline segment at around 8% to 10% a year. According to a IMARC Group report, India’s BPC market size reached $26.3 Bn in 2022 and is expected to reach $38 Bn by 2028, growing at a CAGR of 6.45% between 2023 and 2028.
Notably, in their endeavour to capture this opportunity, new players are entering the BPC space, and the existing ones have started to scale their omnichannel presence.
The newest entrant in the space is Reliance Retail. The retail major forayed into the BPC market with its omnichannel platform, Tira, earlier last month. Along with launching its app, Reliance Retail also opened its flagship Tira store in Mumbai.
It is crucial to note that existing marketplaces like Nykaa and Purplle, and D2C brands such as SUGAR Cosmetics and Mamaearth, too, have started expanding their offline footprint, after scaling up their online presence.
Similarly, offline retailers such as Loreal India, Sephora, and Hindustan Unilever’s Lakme have increased their focus on expanding their online presence via direct-to-consumer websites.
Given that Reliance’s Tira has entered the market with an omnichannel playbook, piggybacking on its parent’s cash reserves, it becomes all the more important to understand what impact it will have in the long run on the existing players and industry dynamics.
According to the industry experts that Inc42 spoke with, the beauty and personal care market offers more than enough opportunities for multiple players to grow, due to multiple favourable factors.
“The BPC segment remains one of the fastest growing categories in consumer retail because the penetration of beauty products has remained relatively low. With increasing awareness, and more disposable income, the BPC segment has witnessed decent growth. Now, since the segment is growing, there is a scope for multiple players to grow. That is why some of the big players have entered into the market,” Ashish Dhir, EVP (consumer and retail), 1Lattice said.
Despite Dhir’s optimism, it is pertinent to note that Nykaa saw some initial pressure on its share prices and overall stock performance with the launch of Tira. Brokerage firm Macquarie said that the entry of new players such as Tira could exacerbate the problems for Nykaa at a time when the competition in the segment is already tough.
In the past, Reliance’s entry into the fashion ecommerce space with Ajio impacted leading existing players like Myntra. Now that we already have an example from the past, coupled with a falling will to spend due to factors like rising unemployment and inflation, it will be interesting to see how Nykaa performs under such pressure.
How Tira Could Threaten Nykaa & Ilks Dominance In The Beauty & Personal Care Space
It is no wonder that Reliance Retail will look at disrupting the market to emerge as a market leader as it has done in every segment.
Compared to sectors such as apparel and telecom, the BPC segment is different, and it is not very easy to scale here the way Nykaa has done over the years, according to Karan Taurani, SVP Research, Elara Capital. He noted that many other players in the past tried to scale but failed.
“Nykaa has emerged as a winner due to several factors such as a superior consumer experience on the app, trustworthiness, and product variety. Currently, the product delivery time is also lesser on Nykaa compared to Tira, although the latter could improve it. Moreover, Nykaa has created a network of influencers over the years, and its approach on social media is very different,” Taurani added.
He, however, highlighted that there will be an initial consumer churn as some customers will try Tira as well, and whether the new venture, Tira, can retain all these customers will depend on the consumer experience it provides.
As per Taurani, marketplaces like Nykaa will see some sort of pinch in terms of demand but will not have a significant impact until Tira offers a differentiated experience. Right now, Tira has very few differentiating factors.
However, we should not forget that Reliance Retail is experienced in building brands and has the heavy financial backing to scale in the offline segment.
Given that many players do not have much experience in the offline segment, they may see a visible impact facing the retail giant in the offline BPC space.
It is important to note that Nykaa’s consolidated net profit fell 70.7% year-on-year (YoY) to INR 8.5 Cr in the December quarter of the financial year 2022-23 (FY23), despite the festive season.
In addition, Mumbai-based beauty ecommerce startup Purplle’s net loss almost quadrupled to INR 203.6 Cr in the financial year 2021-22 (FY22) from INR 52 Cr in FY21.
An optimistic Dhir, however, likes to believe that Tira would only increase the competition in the segment and would not impact the profitability of its rivals, at least in the near term.
Will D2C Beauty & Personal Care Brands Face The Heat?
Along with conglomerate-backed large players such as Tata Cliq and online marketplaces, there are several Indian startups and brands such as mCaffeine, Mamaearth, Sugar and Minimalist, which are looking to capture a big chunk of the ever-increasing BPC market pie.
According to an Inc42 report, BPC will remain one of the fastest-growing D2C segments between 2022 and 2030, growing at a CAGR of 27%.
Talking about Tira’s impact, experts said these (aforementioned) D2C brands will not see any major impact due to two factors.
“Firstly, these brands will have similar arrangements with Tira as they have with Nykaa. Secondly, these brands have created a loyal customer base for the products they offer and they have their recall,” Taurani said.
“While deep-pocketed companies can spend their way into buying the market share, all brands need to be prepared for the long term. Also, for these brands a clear positioning be crucial to stand out, not just in their product and service mix but also the overall customer experience specific to their target audience. This would also give opportunities to several beauty and personal care brands to profitably serve niches that may be too small for the larger companies driving for the market, “Devangshu Dutta, the founder of Third Eyesight, said.
Also, Nykaa and Purplle have a portfolio of private labels, which includes skincare brands such as Dot & Key, Earth Rhythm, and Good Vibes, among others. Hence, it will not be surprising if Tira launches its private labels or acquires small brands to grow its portfolio.
As brands like Dot & Key, and Good Vibes are already direct competitors to these D2C beauty brands, a new player can pose more challenges for them.
What Else Could Work In Tira’s Favour
“Our vision for Tira is to be the leading beauty destination for accessible yet aspirational beauty, one that is inclusive and one that harbours the mission of becoming the most loved beauty retailer in India,” Reliance Retail’s executive director Isha Ambani said at the time of launch in April 2023.
When Reliance entered new segments like telecom and fashion ecommerce with Jio and Ajio, respectively, many of the existing players struggled to sustain in the segment as the Mukesh Ambani-led conglomerate scaled up quickly, thanks to its strong financial position. Hence, it will work as the biggest favourable factor in the beauty and personal care space as well, industry experts believe.
Tira is also expected to lure customers with big discounts. “For Tira, a big chunk of revenue will initially go towards marketing and customer acquisition, at least for the first couple of years, as it is a new brand. More than marketing, Reliance will look at discounting more prominently. Reliance will try to give higher discounts compared to other players,” Taurani said.
He added that Reliance has some expertise in building new platforms, such as Ajio, and a rich talent pool and strong brand exposure.
While players like Tata Cliq, Purplle, and Myntra’s beauty segment have tried to scale up in BPC, none of these players has seen significant growth. Hence, the market consists of one large player, making it easier for a deep-pocket player like Tira to carve its positioning quickly and create a duopoly with Nykaa.
At the time of Tira’s launch, the company said that the brand would offer a curated assortment of the best global and home-grown beauty brands. In terms of its offline play, Reliance Retail can leverage partnerships with global beauty brands and suppliers to get better deals. As it is looking at an omnichannel play at an entry stage itself, it may be able to gain market share from smaller beauty retailers, especially in bigger cities.
The Tira offline store will have the latest beauty tech tools such as virtual try-on to create customised looks and a skin analyser that will personalise and assist consumers in making purchasing decisions based on their needs, the company said.
On the luxury side, Reliance Retail is also directly targeting the market which has higher margins and could eat into the margins of Nykaa easily. It must be noted that Nykaa’s Luxe is still in its infancy.
While it is true that Tira will increase the competition in the BPC segment, it is not likely to rewrite the industry’s future over the next couple of years. Tira currently has very few differentiating factors in both the online and offline segments. Additionally, in the offline segment, Tira has opened only one store while Nykaa already has 141 physical stores across 56 Indian cities, as shared in its Q3 earnings report.
Even though there are glaring differences, some industry experts see Tira’s journey to be the same as that of Nykaa, going ahead.
(Published in Inc42)